Plants for Rockville
I have a problem planting the right shrubs in our backyard in Rockville. For instance, boxwood is dying, the old and tall photinia plants are permanently sick (spots on the leaves), Burberry bush s green instead of purple, etc. I am trying to create a good privacy hedge but the problems, described are in the shady areas. In the sunny area I have pretty good hedge form hollies and Green giants. Is there any way for an expert to see my backyard and give advice? If not, what would you recommend for a good evergreen, deer-resistent privacy hedge in shady areas? Thank you,
Montgomery County Maryland
We are not staffed to make house calls.
You don't mention how much shade you're dealing with. Boxwoods are not considered shade plants. Photinia are described as part shade, but are notorious for having fungal problems. More shade would probably make it worse. We do not recommend barberry because it has become a foreign invasive plant, taking over huge areas of parks and natural areas (and increasing deer ticks with Lyme disease.)
In your shady area, be sure your selections tolerate shade. Hollies, rhododendrons, azaleas (many get 6-8 feet tall) are good choices. Also sweet shrub (fragrant flowers and butterflies)!
Be mindful that if the shade is from tall trees, the roots of those trees will be competing with your new shrubs for water (and nutrients). All newly planted shrubs and trees should be watered for at least the first two years during dry spells (and under trees, more often) until they are well established.
This means from spring through fall. Many fall droughts are killers, especially for evergreens. Never let your evergreens go into winter in dry soil.